HUNTSVILLE - Flowers littered the outside of the Huntsville Police Department to honor the life of former police chief William "Buddy" Stuck Friday.
Stuck died Wednesday after a gun shot to the abdomen, according to the results of an autopsy. The Randolph County Sheriff's Department is not releasing any more information on the investigation until Monday. Deputies told KOMU 8 News they are not sure whom the next police chief will be.
Residents said Stuck's death is a much bigger blow to the community than just losing an officer.
"That was really the shot heard 'round Huntsville," resident Amy Phillips said. "The whole town shut down a little for a while."
Residents said "Buddy" was an integral part of daily community life. Before he went to work everyday as chief of police, he acted as the town's school bus driver. He would also bus children home from school, and he gave the Westran High School football team rides to games.
"He's just a person that's been around," Huntsville councilman Frank Miller said. "We're going to have to get used to him not being around. For most people in this town, I would say for 99 percent of them, that's going to be hard."
Stuck was also a volunteer firefighter for the city and would collect donations every year to distribute sacks of fruit and candy to children on Christmas.
"I have no idea how they are going to fill this void," Stuck's niece Aimee Riddle said. "The two police officers he trained are great, but they have some big shoes to fill."
Those two police officers are now the only active officers in Huntsville. The city will remain under the jurisdiction of the Randolph County Sheriff Department. Residents said Stuck had been a Huntsville officer for more than 20 years.